Is Horseback Riding Considered a Sport?

Few talks and discussions have been done, and still, more people have been questioning whether equestrianism, simply known as horseback riding, is a sport or not. Some people think that anyone can ride a horse because all you do is just sit there and do something to control the animal. On the contrary, riders try to negate that idea by stating all the works done to be able to ride their horses smoothly. And bet you all, no one will accept which side is true or not. So If I am to put myself on a debate with this as the stated argument and to have nothing in mind about riding horses, I admit that it will be quite harder on which stand to take. So as we try to unravel these facts about equestrianism, we will also try to validate the idea of horseback riding as a sport.

Yes, you have read it right, Horseback riding is a sport. Really. The only problem we got here is on how to convince everyone that it is really considered as one. So what is so special about this hobby that turned into sport?

Is horseback riding considered a sport? To answer this question again, the answer is absolutely yes. Equestrianism or horseback riding is a sport, and in fact, it is one of the oldest sports ever created. This is something that everyone is not fully aware of because people usually see just a few professionals who are being watched on the television for effortlessly riding and controlling the horse. But just like any other known sports, for these riders to fully ride on these horses, they must undergo hours of continuous daily practices, sore muscles, bruises and other physical injuries that they encounter each day. Considering this activity as a valid sport, there are factors that have been considered to fully categorize horseback riding as a sport. What are these factors then?

A sport requires muscle strength, balance, agility, flexibility, and overall body awareness. In the case of riding horses or any other animal that is larger than humans, physical presence should be around. The said factors above must be exercised to take control of horses’ movements and using controlling, means using entire body muscles as you move in sync with the horse that you are riding with.

A sport means being in a healthy competition. This is the kind of competition that does not just focus on who will be the winner. Being competitive starts between the horse and the handler/trainer itself. Having the feeling of competitiveness triggers the inner spark of being connected with the horse and while on a race, that very feeling could lead to something blazing. However, success in one does not mean success on the other too, so riders tend to exert more and try to be more competitive to achieve the desire of winning in every other horse.

A sport needs skills and strategy. Truly, horseback riding requires mental exercise since you get to think which safest route to take and what way should you handle or control the horse. Also, inner communication with your horse and knowing what the is he thinking needs some mental ability that those who are in the field can only possess. In horseback riding, riders also use their mind ability to memorize a particular course and think of some strategies that they can use to pass through a certain track smoothly. Mind and body coordination is what they need especially in times when horses try to show some unexpected behaviour while competing and when changes in the field have been met spontaneously.

A sport follows certain rules and regulation. Just like any other sports, equestrianism is also being controlled by some rules that need to be followed by players or riders for both amateur and professional level. Equestrianism does not only have competition rules it also has rules about their clothing, saddlery, bits, size and type of horse and many other details that can affect the performances of the riders and horses.

Equestrianism as part of the Olympic Games

Considering one of the oldest sports ever created, horseback riding has been included in the Olympic games since year 1900 and eventually, after 21 years of having that sport being played by riders all over the world, a federation was established called Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and currently, it sets as the governing body for the eight disciples: jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting, reining and para-equestrian.

Today, Olympics are now focusing on the three disciplines in equestrianism: jumping, dressage, and eventing. In this kind of sport, both men and women can compete and be an equestrian all the way up to Olympic level. Horseback riding as a sport is unique and amazing since it is the only sport that involves two athletes; the horse and the rider. In this case, a deep relationship and mutual connection should be established between the rider and the horse so they can be able to work as one.

Related Questions:

Is rodeo considered as a sport?

Today, horses as well as other livestock animals, are being also used in rodeo show aside from cattle that were bred for their strength and agility. Yes, rodeo is a competitive sport that originally came from the countries Mexico, Spain, Central America, and United States. Being known as a sport in some provinces of United States, associations and organizations have also been established: the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WRPA).

What is IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association)?

IHSA is an organization whose members are newbie riders that are preparing for a competition that they wanted to be in. They are being enrolled here so they will have the chance to enhance their skills by riding different horses in every semester allowing them to cope up and adapt to the skills and strength of every horse. After a lot of training, IHSA member will be evaluated based on his or her performance, and with this, they can be able to go outside and compete in different zones and levels.

What is show jumping discipline?

In here, riders steer their horses around several obstacle courses either man-made or not, and they simply jump over those courses without making a single mistake or else, the safety of the horse and the rider will be at risk.

What do horses show in a dressage type of competition?

In dressage, riders guide their horses all throughout while performing various movements such as turns, traps, and steps. Horses here look like dancing horses that’s why people call this type as “horse ballet” performance.



I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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